A lot of us have been confused, angry, and frustrated by the reluctance of some teachers, and particularly their unions, to resume in-person instruction.
What happens to English learners’ academic achievement when they’re reclassified as English proficient?
A lot of us have been confused, angry, and frustrated by the reluctance of some teachers, and particularly their unions, to resume in-person instruction. It defies not just science, but common sense, and feels like an exercise in shifting the goalposts or flexing political muscles. No in-person class until teachers are vaccinated. Or until kids are vaccinated. No, until everyone’s vaccinated and Covid-19 is eradicated. Then and only then will it be “safe” to return to something approximating normal schooling.
Over the weekend, a New York math teacher named Michael Pershan tweeted an astute observation, later expanded into a blog post, which suggests one possible cause of many teachers’ reluctance to resume in-person instruction: It’s less that they’re scared of Covid. They’re scared of hybrid teaching. And this, Pershan argues persuasively, is “an entirely reasonable concern about working conditions.”
“I bumped into an elementary teacher friend yesterday who I admire a great deal. She has been fully vaccinated and I know she cares a lot for her students,” Pershan writes. “She understands that vaccines are effective. She works hard for kids. Still, she’s praying that they don’t return in-person. And she even said she has colleagues who are afraid of getting their shots, for fear that they will have to come back to school. This is seemingly crazy—sure, ventilation is awful in a lot of places, but are they less safe than not being vaccinated?”
What’s actually happening, Pershan posits, is that the response to the pandemic has made teaching much more difficult and a lot less satisfying, and this is manifesting itself in a reluctance to further entrench the practices that are making teachers miserable, specifically having to simultaneously teach students in class and online. His blunt but accurate observation (just ask a teacher who is doing it) is that this common form of hybrid teaching “hardcore sucks.”
For a significant percentage of teachers, in-person schooling for the foreseeable future is going to mean hybrid instruction, with some combination of “roomies and Zoomies.” It’s certainly not going away in the current school year and maybe not the next one either, owing to parental choice and CDC guidelines. Even where in-person instruction is currently an option, a significant percentage of parents don’t want their kids back in physical school buildings, and health guidelines make it all but impossible for most schools to fit a full complement of students in a classroom without violating social distancing requirements. For the time being, this makes a certain amount of hybrid learning inevitable, which materially alters the act of teaching.
I spoke to Pershan after reading his blog post. He cited the work of the late University of Chicago sociologist Dan C. Lortie, who noted that teaching is rooted in “psychic rewards” for teachers. When your contact with students is inconsistent or unpredictable, the emotional day-to-day payoff of teaching isn’t always there. It’s a struggle to build trusting relationships and a positive and effective classroom culture among a rotating and unpredictable roster of students. It’s also easy for a low level of rigor and sophistication to creep into the work. Student indifference and lack of motivation becomes hard to ignore or combat. In sum, hybrid instruction not only makes the job harder, “it also strips away a lot of the things that people love about the job,” explains Pershan, who notes that many teachers have students they’ve never even met in person.
Not all hybrid teaching is created equal. Pershan makes the subtle but important point that “synchronous” hybrid learning, with a only few kids present in-person is really hard; when just a few kids are online it’s more manageable. “When most kids are in the classroom and a few are online...it’s not more effective for the kids who are online,” he notes. “But at least I feel like my presence at school is worthwhile. I can more easily help kids with things, I can keep an eye on everyone, and more important, it feels like there’s a real social environment.” When the numbers are flipped, with only a few kids physically present, “that’s a recipe for frustration,” Pershan observes. “That feels like you might as well have everyone stay at home, since you’re basically teaching online anyway.” But you’re also responsible for the kids who are physically present.
My own sense is that teachers needn’t be consciously “afraid” of hybrid teaching for Pershan’s thesis to make sense. Confirmation bias seems enough to tip the balance. Much like putting off recommended dental work if you’re not in pain, it’s human nature to avoid unpleasant tasks if they can be avoided. Teachers might simply be more susceptible to cite concerns for their “safety” if it forestalls returning to a job that has been made more difficult or unpleasant due to circumstances beyond their control. A crisis or public health emergency brings out the best in us. But as the emergency goes from an acute to a chronic condition, creating permanent changes in the structure and rewards of the job, it makes sense that teachers might resist, even unconsciously, putting themselves in harm’s way—psychologically, if not physically.
Some will perceive this analysis as merely another flavor of excuse-making and putting adult interests ahead of kids, or argue that any in-person instruction is better than none, therefore teachers should just suck it up and get back in to class. But teacher effectiveness matters under any scenario. The proof of Pershan’s provocative hypothesis may be in teacher retention. Economic uncertainty tends to reduce teacher turnover. If the economy shows signs of life and the job market improves—with the demands of teaching remaining high and the psychic rewards diminished—we shouldn’t be surprised by a sudden rush for the exits.
It may already be underway. A new RAND study suggests that Covid-driven changes to schooling are pushing some teachers out of the profession before their scheduled retirement dates. Almost half of public school teachers who left the classroom after March 2020 did so because of the Covid-19 pandemic. “At least for some teachers, the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have exacerbated what were high stress levels pre-pandemic by forcing teachers to, among other things, work more hours and navigate an unfamiliar remote environment, often with frequent technical problems,” according to the RAND report.
Pershan’s astute observation and the RAND report post offer, for me at least, a kind of hammer through glass moment, offering a different context for my own frustration with teachers’ reluctance to return to the classroom. The resolution is not entirely clear. Perhaps schools and districts might curtail synchronous hybrid learning in favor of full-time online academies for parents who demand a remote option. At the very least, it’s another argument for dispensing with the “new normal” and returning to the old normal with urgency, for everyone’s sake—parents, students, and teachers.
In last week’s Gadfly, I shared some misgivings about today’s push for “community control” on the part of many education reformers and philanthropists. Now I want to explain how my misgivings are informed by a pair of previous such ventures, dating back to my earliest—perhaps formative—exposure to earnest efforts to boost the lives and prospects of poor Americans and people of color. I’m mindful of the maxim, attributed to many, but most authentically to Santayana, that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
The centerpiece of LBJ’s “war on poverty” circa 1964 was the “Community Action Program,” which my own mentor, the late Daniel P. Moynihan, autopsied in 1969, the year after the King and Robert Kennedy assassinations, amid urban riots far larger and more damaging than those of the past couple of years. Pat’s much-discussed book, titled Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding, didn’t say that everything about community action was a failure. But he itemized the ways its architects had failed to think carefully about—and agree on—how it would actually work in practice. Hence the many unintended and often undesirable effects that it wound up having. Among them: disruption of local governments and political arrangements that had at least been functional; the empowerment of new political figures who used their unaccustomed influence mainly to further their own careers; a lot of money and influence ending up in the hands of new elites, mostly experts, organizers, planners and technocrats—those Irving Kristol would later dub the “new class”—and more than a little plain old-fashioned corruption.
Moynihan wasn’t alone. Lyndon Johnson himself looked back on his anti-poverty program with considerable misgivings. On the verge of leaving office in late 1968, he had this to say, in an oral interview with then-OEO director Bertram Harding: “This is not what I set up poverty [for].... All this theoretical stuff, a bunch of goddamn social workers going out and shoveling money through a bunch of half-baked organizations. The biggest, crappiest thing that I ever saw.... I just feel terrible about it.”
The “war on poverty” had many parts, of which “community action” was just the centerpiece. Other elements, such as Head Start, the Job Corps, and the Teacher Corps were more tightly connected to education. But they, too, contained “empowerment” strands, such as Head Start’s insistence on hiring local residents rather than professional educators to work with needy two- and three-year-olds. It didn’t even try to function as a sophisticated kindergarten-readiness program, though that might have done those toddlers, all poor and mostly Black or Brown, more good. This remains a challenge for Head Start even today.
The other big “empowerment” example from the 1960’s that I worry about as possible precedent for contemporary developments was New York City’s big move to decentralize the control of its public schools, particularly the episode known to history as “Ocean Hill-Brownsville.” This has been much written about and remains the subject of controversy among historians and journalists as to who did what to whom and, especially, why. But the basic facts are pretty straightforward.
In 1966, the New York–based Ford Foundation, newly led by McGeorge Bundy, former dean at Harvard and JFK’s national security advisor, announced that its entire domestic focus going forward would be civil rights: “We believe,” he said, “that full equality for all American Negroes is now the most urgent domestic concern of the country.”
This included a major Ford commitment to the empowerment of Black leaders and community control of institutions affecting them, a commitment that Bundy himself applied to the New York City schools, chairing a panel that in 1967 recommended to Mayor John Lindsay that governance of Gotham’s public schools be placed under the control of localized school boards instead of a central citywide board and superintendent. (Can you picture two more “elite” individuals than McGeorge Bundy and John V. Lindsay?)
Three communities—all Black and/or Brown—were selected to pilot the decentralization plan. One of them was the overwhelmingly Black Brooklyn neighborhood known as Ocean Hill-Brownsville.
The pilot program was messy from the outset. In a lengthy obituary just last year of Rhody McCoy, the career Black educator who became superintendent of Ocean Hill-Brownsville, the New York Times recalled that, “Control was never clearly defined, nor was the local district given the support it needed to redeem what it considered its mandate—whether because of bungling by the Board of Education’s grinding bureaucracy or deliberate sabotage.”
Ocean Hill-Brownsville was already a tough and troubled neighborhood, and its residents had some legitimate grievances involving white folks. By the time control of the schools was decentralized, theirs were both segregated and crowded and nearby white neighborhoods had resisted doing anything about the problem. There had also been some painful police-related incidents. And there was an appetite for changes in the school curriculum.
Whatever the eventual goal, the decentralization experiment got off to an awful start in that community when, on May 9, 1968, as recounted by Rick Kahlenberg, the new local school board “sent telegrams to nineteen unionized educators, informing them that their employment in the district was terminated. Eighteen were white...Rhody McCoy, the local superintendent, told the New York Times: ‘Not one of these teachers will be allowed to teach anywhere in this city. The Black community will see to that....’”
Besides being White, and dismissed with no semblance of due process, those teachers were all members of the United Federation of Teachers, headed by the thirty-nine-year-old Albert Shanker.
What happened next was a teachers strike that started in Ocean Hill-Brownsville but soon went citywide. Actually, there were three strikes in the fall of 1968, the effect being that New York’s public schools were closed for thirty-six days. “At the time,” Kahlenberg notes, “it was the largest and longest set of school strikes in American history.” It also catapulted Shanker into national visibility and a long-lasting role as union leader and, in time, education reformer and statesman.
Though the strike was citywide, schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville stayed open, as non-union replacement teachers were swiftly hired. But it got ugly fast. At Junior High School 271, recalled the then-student body president: “There was so many people. There were thousands of police. There were snipers with guns on the roofs. Sometimes there were helicopters. There were police on horses. There were police with K-9 units with mean dogs. The reporters with the fedora hats and the little pads with the pencils, the photographers with the light bulbs when they flash it.”
It got worse. Again, the McCoy obituary:
Adding fuel to an already combustible caldron was a supporting cast that included Herman Ferguson, who was nominated as a principal by the district’s governing board while under indictment for conspiring to murder moderate civil rights leaders; Leslie Campbell, a Black teacher who during a radio interview read a poem by a student that included the lines “You pale-faced Jew boy—I wish you were dead”; and John O’Neill, a teachers’ union vice president, who became alarmed by the rising racial tension and publicly broke with Mr. Shanker.
In her book “The Great School Wars: A History of the New York City Public Schools” (1974), Diane Ravitch described Dr. McCoy as among the militants who were “not interested in testing community control, but in having community control.”
“He was a veteran educator surrounded by angry activists,” Dr. Ravitch said in an email. “He gave legitimacy to their cause. He was not caught in the middle. He enjoyed being the public face of the community control movement, and he must have enjoyed the discomfort he caused the establishment.”
It couldn’t last. Tensions were too strong, conflict too intense, interests too threatened. The state legislature got involved the next year, scrapping the three pilot projects and reshaping the governance of New York’s schools that left a semblance of authority over elementary and middle schools with thirty-two “community districts” but returned most authority to the central board of education and the citywide UFT contract, where it remained until Michael Bloomberg persuaded lawmakers in 2002 to put the mayor and his hand-picked schools chancellor in charge.
There’s no simple takeaway from this failed experiment with community control of the schools, any more than from Johnson’s vexed community action program. But it’s important for today’s reformers and funders to recognize the likelihood that community leaders won’t diagnose or prioritize kids’ educational needs in the same ways as professionals, experts, and technocrats might. That’s not necessarily a bad thing so long as the kids benefit. But consider what was happening in San Francisco until the locally-elected local board got sued (by the city itself!) and backed down: They were keener to rename schools than to reopen them! Meanwhile, according a Stanford public policy report in 2017, San Francisco has “the worst black student achievement of any county in California.” Shouldn’t that be everybody’s top priority?
Consider, too, current goings-on in the schools of Buffalo, where equity-driven efforts to infuse just about everything they do with wokeness and anti-racism seem to consume an education system that might better focus on the 82 percent of middle schoolers who aren’t proficient in math and the 80 percent who haven’t reached that bar in reading. And that was before the epic absenteeism associated with the pandemic.
San Francisco and Buffalo have school systems run by locally-elected boards and the superintendents that they hire. That’s what America has historically meant by “local control of the schools.” What will happen if control of individual schools becomes even more “localized?” We’ve seen a considerable amount of this—with mixed results—as charter schools have spread in many places, and we should expect plenty more of it as more local leaders seize—or are handed—the levers of power and funding. As with charters, some will focus on the academic achievement of their students and some will do a superb job of boosting it, including among children of color. Sadly, others will seize this opportunity to push whatever is politically fashionable and resonates with their communities or their own peers. Some will inevitably focus on opportunities for patronage and, perhaps, payback.
It’s not that the elite “experts” who designed Johnson’s community action program or New York’s experiment with community control did great. Nor were they entirely wrong. They surely meant well. But things tend to go off the rails, plans get confused, the appearance of shared goals sometimes conceals sharply differing objectives, too many cooks add their own ingredients to the soup, and, especially, most of the time things just don’t work quite as intended. The surest takeaway from this brief history lesson is the reminder that the law of unintended consequences has never been repealed. And nothing within the power of even the most ardent reformer or wealthiest donor can repeal it.
Eyes wide open, please!
Education funding is sticky. Once dollars are sent to a public school or school system, they tend to stay there. That is a fundamental lesson I have learned from co-authoring nine school funding studies, with a tenth one released this week.
Prime examples of the stickiness of school funding include local education dollars and “phantom funding.” Local school funding, primarily raised through property taxes, tends to go exclusively to district-run public schools, even when public charter schools expand in a community. Local funding is a big deal, composing an average of 45 percent of total education revenue.
“Phantom funding” is the common practice of funding public schools based on their prior year enrollment, and even sending some portion of a given student’s per-pupil funding to their former public school district two or three years after the student has left. This sends education resources to the place where students used to be, not to the schools where they are now. Phantom funding financially rewards public school systems that are losing enrollment while punishing systems, including many public charter schools, that are gaining in popularity.
Given the stickiness of education resources, we might expect that per-pupil spending in district-run public schools would tend to increase when public charter schools open or expand nearby. We would be right.
As Mark Weber demonstrates in the Fordham Institute report Robbers or Victims? Charter Schools and District Finances, in fifteen of the twenty-one states studied, charter school enrollment growth has been followed by increased funding of students in district-run schools. As Weber puts it, “In most states with nontrivial charter sectors, there is a statistically significant [positive] relationship between independent charter market share and host school districts’ revenue and spending per pupil.” Based on these data, people who support increased funding for public school students should also support expanded charter schooling.
Weber examines the effect of increases in the proportion of K–12 students enrolled in charter schools from 2000 to 2017 on district-run public school revenues and expenditures. His sample includes all states that contained a critical mass of districts with independently authorized public charter schools in their area by the end of the study period. He uses statistical regression models to control for the consistent peculiarities of individual districts, time trends, and a handful of variables that affect school funding and spending. Weber admits that his analytic method only identifies correlations between charter school market share and district revenue and expenditures. Those relationships are descriptive, not necessarily causal, but descriptive studies of these questions are the best we can do under the circumstances.
The results are broadly consistent with a competitive response by districts to pressure from charter schools, as market theory would predict. The growth of public charter schools in an area decreases the monopoly power of local school districts, pressuring them to respond in constructive ways or risk losing customers. Weber’s research indicates that most districts respond by increasing spending on student support services, while some of them also boost spending on classroom instruction. If a public school wants to please parents and retain students, focusing more resources on instruction and student supports is a logical place to start.
These findings are problematic for the Biden administration. The new president has promised to increase federal resources for district-run public schools through more Covid-19 emergency funding and by halting the growth of public charter schools. While more relief dollars appear to be likely, the growth of public charter schools increases per-pupil funding in district schools. By tamping down charter school enrollments, the Biden administration would reduce the resources available to students in district-run public schools, according to Weber’s findings. The Biden administration’s strategy of discouraging charter school growth would undermine the administration’s goal of increasing per-pupil funding in district-run public schools.
Average student learning loss due to the pandemic is likely to be substantial. If traditional public schools are to receive large tranches of emergency aid to help students catch up in their learning, then public charter schools should share equally in those funds, on a per-pupil basis. Students should not be valued less simply due to the type of public school they attend.
Moreover, the data indicate that more charter school choice for parents tends to result in more resources for district-run public schools. The school districts tend to use the extra per-pupil revenue to boost spending on student supports and instruction. Everybody gets what they want. Why mess with that?
The return on investment for four-year college degrees is fairly well-established in terms of graduates’ employment and income trajectory, but the labor market outcomes for community college graduates are less well understood. Even though enrollment was trending downward even before the pandemic, America’s community colleges still confer over 1.5 million sub-baccalaureate credentials each year. These include associate degrees (which typically take two years to earn), long certificates (for programs at least one year in length), and short certificates (for programs less than one year in length). A recent research report published in the journal Education Finance and Policy aims to define the value of each of these credentials over time.
Researchers Veronica Minaya and Judith Scott-Clayton from Columbia University examine data on roughly 96,000 students who entered college in Ohio for the first time at age twenty or older, so that they can measure pre-college earnings, between fall 2001 and spring 2004. They look at the earnings and other outcomes over eleven years for students completing a terminal sub-baccalaureate credential. That is, they exclude students who subsequently enrolled in a four-year institution, so their effects are not capturing any value of transferring and/or completing a further degree. They use an individual fixed-effects approach that compares each student’s earnings after program completion to their earnings prior to enrollment. Non-completers—those who started a sub-baccalaureate program but never finished but are otherwise similar to completers—serve as a control group to account for any earnings growth that might have been expected over time regardless of credential attainment. The researchers control for student demographics, entry cohort, and degree intentions, since completers and non-completers could be on different earnings growth patterns for reasons unrelated to credential attainment. That said, their preferred model can’t completely account for things like motivation, which also correlates with credential attainment. Plus they do find that their results for men change somewhat when they relax the assumption that any differences between completers and non-completers of different credentials are fixed over time.
With those caveats in mind, Minaya and Scott-Clayton find that the value of an associate degree grows substantially after graduation, while the returns to a long certificate are flat over time in general and the returns to a short certificate are flat for women but grow somewhat over time for men. Returns on associate degrees are notably higher in recession years versus pre-recession years.
Associate degrees lead to improved outcomes relative to non-completers across a range of outcomes, including higher paying jobs, more stability in employment over time, and a greater likelihood of earning a living wage (defined as $30,000 annually). For example, the effect of completing an associate degree on the likelihood of earning a living wage is 25 percentage points for women, compared to a 13-percentage-point effect for a long certificate. Certificates, however, do pay off via the employment margin—meaning whether someone has a job at all—and a reduced likelihood of claiming unemployment benefits.
Of additional note: Two-thirds of sub-baccalaureate enrollments are in two fields—health and engineering. Researchers see that, for both men and women, the highest quarterly earnings gains upon graduation are in health-related fields, and these are even more pronounced for associate degrees as compared to certificates. For men, however, only 13 percent of associate degrees earned are in the health fields, compared to 40 percent for women. While this comparative decrease is likely not confined to sub-baccalaureate credentials, men completing associate degrees are clearly missing out on more lucrative career opportunities by not pursuing opportunities in the health sector.
The report closes by urging caution in terms of promoting certificates as equally valuable to associate degrees. Although long certificates have a payoff, it remains flat or declines over time, with the exception of engineering certificates for men.
Equally interesting (read: alarming) is the supposed speed by which students can acquire sub-baccalaureate credentials. Often touted as an expedient option for job advancement or retraining, it’s lost in reality. The average time to completion in the sample was four years for an associate degree, 3.6 years for a long certificate, and an astounding three years for a “short” certificate.
To make matters even more complicated, we know that geography also plays a role. Depending on where one lives, mean earnings can vary for workers with different levels of education. So it is all the more important that tomorrow’s high school graduates understand the options available to them and the likely value of those options in the future. Studies such as these address that need.
SOURCE: Veronica Minaya and Judith Scott-Clayton, “Labor Market Trajectories for Community College Graduates: How Returns to Certificates and Associate’s degrees Evolve Over Time,” Education Finance and Policy (August 12, 2020).
What happens to English learners’ academic achievement when they’re reclassified as English proficient?
As English learners approach language proficiency, does it matter whether they continue to receive English language instruction? A recent paper published in Economics of Education Review seeks to answer this question for English learners in Minnesota.
Minnesota, like many states, relies heavily on the ACCESS examination designed by the WIDA Consortium to determine whether a student should remain classified as an English learner (EL) or be deemed English proficient. If an EL student scores above a set threshold, they are reclassified as English proficient and no longer engage in English language instruction.
Cutoff policies are useful for education researchers seeking to understand the causal effect of EL classification. The authors use an intuitive technique known as regression discontinuity, which compares the academic achievement of students just above and below the reclassification cutoff score. If we assume that students who score just above the cutoff are very similar to students who score just below the cutoff, while assuming that scores cannot be manipulated, we can compare the outcomes of the two groups attributing any differences to their EL classification.
In general, the authors find that reclassification has no effect on academic performance in English language arts or math. But there’s some variation by subgroup. Sixth graders who were reclassified as English proficient did in fact experience significant positive improvement in math, but those effects fade over time. And Hmong-speaking Asian sixth graders did particularly well in math when reclassified as English proficient. These interesting findings may speak to something unique about Minnesota’s context, or the state’s particular instructional approach around the Hmong language, that cannot be gleaned from a quantitative study.
The fact that the authors find no effect of reclassification should be of great interest to education policymakers. It raises key concerns: What is happening—or not happening—in English-as-a-second-language (ESL) classrooms? If near-proficient students are doing no better or worse in ESL classrooms than general education classrooms, why separate them from their English-speaking peers? Though these particular results are not generalizable to the entire country, they are in line with what similar prior studies have found—that reclassification of near-proficient students has no or slightly positive effects on learning.
This study suggests that states should adopt policies that reclassify EL students as proficient, or allow EL students to join the general population, a bit earlier in their language learning progression. Doing so will allow near-proficient students to spend more time in core academic classes and allow ESL educators to dedicate more time to less proficient students. Such a shift would be both more inclusive and a better use of school resources.
SOURCE: Masayuki Onda and Edward Seyler, “English learners reclassification and academic achievement: Evidence from Minnesota,” Economics of Education Review (2020).
On this week’s podcast, Mike Petrilli, David Griffith, and Dale Chu debate whether President Biden’s soft touch will succeed in getting schools in blue districts to reopen. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines the unintended effects of test-based accountability on students in untested grades.
Amber's Research Minute
Gary T. Henry, Shelby M. McNeill, & Erica Harbatkin, “Accountability-Driven School Reform: Are There Unintended Effects on Younger Children in Untested Grades?,” retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University (February 2021).
If you listen on Apple Podcasts, please leave us a rating and review - we'd love to hear what you think! The Education Gadfly Show is available on all major podcast platforms.
- “Biden’s testing stance leaves states tough choices. Some may still try to avoid exams.” —Education Week
- The National Education Equity Lab is raising the aspirations of over a thousand high schoolers from disadvantaged backgrounds by connecting them to credit-granting Ivy League courses. —New York Times
- Prof. Richard Elmore of Harvard’s school of education will be sorely missed. His dynamic, provocative, and coherent teaching style blessed generations of students. —Rick Hess
- “Chicago schools wouldn’t have reopened without mayoral control. Other cities should take note.” —Washington Post
- How should we teach media literacy? By teaching people to guard their attention and not waste critical-thinking skills on fake news rabbit holes. —New York Times
- A growing rift between educated, white-collar workers and public-sector unions might shake up the Democratic Party’s coalition. —Washington Post
- What are teachers’ and parents’ views of reopening? The polls often disagree. —FiveThirtyEight
- How is the Democratic party “evolving” on education? —Eduwonk
- Denver schools’ superintendent, Susana Cordova, resigned last fall after spearheading reform efforts in the district. Will her policies outlast her time in office? —The74
- After pushback from the community and mayor, San Francisco’s school board pauses its controversial school-renaming discussion to focus on reopening. —San Francisco Chronicle